Costco Celebrates Decades of a Successful Partnership
When Maurizio Zinetti invited staff to a barbecue at his Surrey, British Columbia plant in August 2014, he presented production supervisor Jai Raju with a silver plaque and a watch. He also gave Raju the kind of praise you’d shower on a favourite cousin, rather than a long-serving employee.
Raju, after all, goes way back. Zinetti’s first-ever hire, she joined the prolific pasta-maker shortly after he transitioned from door-to-door restaurant retailer- supplying 300 trays a day of “mom’s homemade lasagna” – to mass-producing for the frozen meal market.
Loyalty to the company-its people and its products-is as fundamental to Zinetti’s successful lasagna business as sun-ripened tomatoes and properly aged Parmesan. He says, “Without employees like [Raju], I wouldn’t be here today.”
Indeed, Zinetti has maintained that abiding respect for his origins through the company’s nearly 30 years as a Costco supplier. The 55-plus staff members he so values continue to work out of Surrey, and the Zinetti family expresses appreciation for its supportive community. “I like to give back,” he explains. Local food banks, several Surrey high school grad events, British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital and children’s hospice Canuck Place are just a few of the many who benefit from that philosophy.
Zinettti is equally grateful, he says, for his long-standing link to Costco. Zinetti Foods began its operations in tandem with the opening of some of Costco’s first western Canadian warehouses, back in 1985. And just two years ago, the company expanded its profile to keep up with the retail giant, filling Costco freezers with its signature meat sauce lasagna as far east as Halifax.
Legions of Costco member go out of their way to put Zinetti’s products on the family table. And that’s the kind of following its buyers take seriously.
“They believe in you and treat you like a partner,” he reports. “By working with Costco and our suppliers, and through innovation and innovative processes, we’ve been able to provide our customers with the same high quality, authentic recipes they’ve come to expect from us. “
The original article by Dana Tye Rally was published in The Costco Connection September/October 2015.